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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Little Black Crow, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"Little black crow,
where do you fly
in the stormy sky?

Whom do you meet
in the long wet street?
Whom do you meet?

It seems so simple and yet, it portrays a world of wonder where a young boy, a crow and the winter landscape capture our attention and give us pause to think about life and the many questions a curious mind can hold. As he imagines what the crow might be considering while spending its day doing what crows do, he voices some of the uncertainties in his own life. Through short questions and amazing watercolor art the audience comes to know the marvellous thoughts of a young child.

The first questions are simply stated and concern weather and everyday wonderings. As he becomes more adept at voicing those questions, they tend toward the more complicated issues of fear, love and uncertainty.
Of course, the crow is unable to answer and the boy is content to have asked. The answers are not evident; but there will always be another day.

The deceptively simple watercolor landscapes set the mood and provide a wonderful backdrop to the boy's observations of his surroundings. Chris Raschka's distinct black line drawings accompanied by washes of blue, yellow, pink and brown bring this young man's world to life and offer a quiet tenderness that assures his readers that all is right in the world, despite some misgivings.

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